JAY'S PERSONAL COMMENTS:
I have to say this was probably one of the most difficult shows I ever had to work on... EVER! Many reasons for this are able to be disclosed (which they will be), but some are verified confidential information which came from my Marin County source who sent me the best possible masters for this show.
Set I and II: Due to the tape reels being plastic, rather than the usual metal type, when the tapes were archived to PCM, there were static problems which occurred due to the ambient electrical charges which occur when tape reels are fast forwarded and fast rewound to "loosen up" the tape. The static discharged through the tape layers, rather than through the metal reels, so the audio wound up becoming filled with little "pops, ticks, and crackles" throughout a lot of the layers of tape.
To eliminate these very annoying (and very audible!) noises, I had to MANUALLY do and edit them out. Close to 3,000 total edits were performed for Set I and almost 2,500 edits for this same problem for Set II. This is why it took close to 8 weeks of work to get this show completed. Of course, I was working on other shows as well, but 90% of the time spent on this wonderful show was on literally looking at every second of audio, scrolling slowly forward, to find these problems. It would have been "nicer" if the static pops were almost identical in their waveform, as I could have had the editing software find them for me, and I would just edit them out. But, they varied to much in the way they appeared in the audio, that there was no "automatic" way to find these little buggers. I spent close to 120 hours on finding these items, but then I was done, I only had to "eliminate" less than 45 total seconds from the entire show, due to my not being able to correct the static noise by simply removing the offending part of the sample (each static "pop" was approximately 0.00025 seconds in length, so just eliminating the deformed part of the waveform too very little time away from the entire show), but having to eliminate an entire sample or part of a waveform (about 0.001 seconds in length). But the elimination of these annoying parts did not affect the way the end result audio sounds. There's no "stuttering" or noticeable missing audio. By performing the editing the way I did, it eliminated all of this "unwanted perverting" of the audio. There are only a few very minor pops left, which could not be eliminated without affecting the audio as a whole, so I simply lowered the volume of the offending noise, so it's just barely perceptible. With the usual amount of original RTR analog tape hiss from the decks being used at the slow speed, plus the analog transfer of the RTR > PCM (they did not do it in the digital domain for reasons I cannot divulge here), there was a fair amount of hiss throughout Sets I and II. I was able to reduce the amount by more than 85%, but there is still a very slight amount of hiss left, which is only noticeable during the between-song lulls, tunings, and the stage announcement, and ONLY if you have your audio cranked up REALLY HIGH! The amount of hiss I was able to remove, without affecting the audio, was so "massive", there were parts of the between song lulls where the band members were talking amongst themselves, etc., and that could not be heard at all, due to the original hiss. Now, you are able to hear EVERYTHING that was originally fed into the RTR decks!
Set III: This came from a totally different set of archive tapes, which had more underlying hiss to them (due to the extra PCM transfer in the lineage), but the overall audio was better them most of the versions out there. So, even more noise reduction using different techniques, was used, and the result was close (and to a slight degree, even better than the Set I/II reduction!). There was a point, beginning with "Sing Me Back Home", where you could hear that someone did some adjustment to the RTR deck, and this hiss rose dramatically from that point to the end of the show. So, not only was I faced with a "different" type of hiss, I had to now "match" the EQ curve of the audio to anything prior to that song! It was a lot of work, but it was also a lot of fun, as this was one of my most challenging releases of a show I had ever attempted.
Overall, there is a LOT more total show audio than in almost all of the versions in circulation. Close to 10 minutes of "additional material" is in this release.
To perform all of the special static noise, I had to revert to converting the show from it's usual 16-bit/48.0 kHz data rate to the highest rates my software, sound card, and digital mixer can handle, which is 32-bit / 192 kHz sampling rate! This is better than DVD's audio, which is 24-bit/96 kHz sampling. But I needed to see more of the waveform, and to be able to manipulate the waveforms in such a precise manner. When I "down-converted" the audio to the standard for CD's, which is 16-bit / 44.1 kHz, I was able to move the quantization noise up into the 20 kHz range, which is well past the point if human hearing. Also, since this show contained very little in the way of high levels of audio above 14 kHz, it did not affect the "harmonics" and the subtle nuances which a lot of people would hear up in the 18-20 kHz audio range with a lot of music. So, everyone will hear all of the audio just as is was recorded onto the RTR decks, only with a much cleaner sound. I had to perform very little in the way of "trimming" of the show's audio for the reel flips and the PCM tape changes. From my editing notes, I was able to remove just under 50 total seconds of total show audio to perform the necessary crossfades. This is the best I could do with the masters I received, and I hope that everyone is happy with the results. I certainly was, and I am never totally happy with my "final release" versions of any show I've ever worked on!
Uploaded exclusively to GDLive.com by:
John "Jay" Serafin, owner/audio engineer @ Serafin Station Studio B
"Making Kindness Dubs For Everyone!"
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